Universal Access To All Knowledge
Home Donate | Store | Blog | FAQ | Jobs | Volunteer Positions | Contact | Bios | Forums | Projects | Terms, Privacy, & Copyright
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload

Reply to this post | Go Back
View Post [edit]

Poster: Green Dolphin Street Date: Dec 12, 2006 9:48am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

It seems to me like his tone diminishes sometime in the later 70's, and then gets almost horrible (as, IMO, does his playing) through the 80's and 90's. His tone gets so trebly and he uses distortion that doesn't fit at all--not to mention his slide playing. I know this isn't specific at all, but what do you guys think?

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: JodyC Date: Dec 12, 2006 11:06am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

So you're saying that after his 1000th show, his voice is showing signs of wear and tear, and that after 2000 it was really really starting to suffer? Seems hard to argue there.Sorry for the wise ass answer.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Max Chorak Date: Dec 12, 2006 11:13am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

Remember my Weir post? *big grin* :P

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: mcglone Date: Dec 12, 2006 11:15am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

i think WE all rememebr that post YM. bigger grin ; )

ian

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Max Chorak Date: Dec 12, 2006 11:35am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

Sure, but who's this YM? Just gotta poke [fun] around :P

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: mcglone Date: Dec 12, 2006 11:41am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

i think i read a post from YM in the early morning hours - i bet he was asking himself that very same question ; )

save some energy for your trip up to San fran. bring your camera, share some pix of your travels with the forum.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Max Chorak Date: Dec 12, 2006 12:52pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

I'm confused. is YM = your mom? haha. What forumite's initials are YM?

Anyhoo.. I'm getting a digital camera before I go up to sf.. i'll be sure to take a lot of pictures.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: JodyC Date: Dec 12, 2006 3:27pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

I think you post was a more technical one Max and his ability to carry a tune or hot actual notes. I for one care less for that-in a technical way. If theres anyone who I have to accept the fact that hey, he's a musician and wants to sing to every once and a while, its Phil. I will never be able to actually critizise any musician or singer though, because I can do neither.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: William Tell Date: Dec 12, 2006 11:35am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

Defn had to matter, JC; with Jerry I always thought that the two packs a day were a big factor, along with all the shows and traveling...no wonder it couldn't (the voice) hold up to our (my) standards.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: high flow Date: Dec 12, 2006 11:52am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

Jerry's voice melted my heart. Even at the end.

Listen to Shady Grove album or the '92 compilation available at GDlive w/ Grisman.

Obviously his voice changed. He was, afterall, human. His old-man voice was quite condusive to the bluegrass stuff he was singing w/ DG.

I will agree his ability to belt-out a good Dew certainly diminished, but......the heart and soul were ever-present.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: William Tell Date: Dec 12, 2006 12:01pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

You know, HF, I always thought that (not that I wasn't a bit sad about some of the change over the years...). I have never understood those that said 'no one in the Dead could sing' (common comment in SF when comparing them to JAirplane, etc., back in the day) as I really, really thought his voice was great. Love him on Workingman's especially; I could never get why he said he really wanted to hear High Time sung by someone with a good voice as I thought he was perfect for it...

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Arbuthnot Date: Dec 12, 2006 6:19pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

Yeah, that always sometimes used to often amaze me when someone would say that Jerry couldn't sing. I mean, i love the guy's voice. Did he have great range and vocal ability. Frankly, i could care less and don't know if he did or did not. His voice was unique and incredibly moving in an emotional sense. But then you know what, i barely listen to anyone anyway. He sang his stuff brilliantly in my opinion.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: high flow Date: Dec 12, 2006 6:31pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

Seriously, if Jerry's playing AND singing DIDN'T give you goose bumps, why the hell would ever go. I was there for the Jerr, and never denied that fact.

AND, after 3 years of west coast tour madness w/ JGB sprinkled in, JGB became, by far, the better experience.

Sorry Bobby....not in to the post-GRATEFUL Dead scene.....sorry.

BTW - ...always sometimes used to often amaze ......

OK when again?

This post was modified by high flow on 2006-12-13 02:31:14

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Arbuthnot Date: Dec 12, 2006 6:40pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

"BTW - ...always sometimes used to often amaze ...... "

Oh hey, yeah, that was purposely stated to piss off the grammar police!

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: high flow Date: Dec 12, 2006 10:44pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

I assumed so...

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: cush11 Date: Dec 12, 2006 11:08pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

Beware my friend, the secret grammar police are not to be trifled with!!! They make cheney's henchmen look like boyscouts! Beware, brother, beware...

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: BryanE Date: Dec 12, 2006 9:57am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

Disagree.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: mcglone Date: Dec 12, 2006 9:57am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

not sure about his tone. just wanted to comment on your handle - great tune!!!

welcome.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: SDH2O Date: Dec 12, 2006 9:59am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

Ditto.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: William Tell Date: Dec 12, 2006 10:10am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

Don't know the 80s and 90s well enough to comment on Bob, and I am challenged to hear Bob unless the mix is 'right,' so it would be tough for me to offer an opinion without a lot of work...

I will say that it is an interesting point because my early era friends and I thought that something like this happened with Jerry in the 70s (ie, his sound changed, which I know in part was his use of different guitars, BUT also because he too began experimenting with a variety of effects, etc.). We interpreted this as, rather than 'growth' (ie, he was trying new things that helped him, etc.) that it was because he was finding it easier to play with these effects instead of working hard at his playing in the pure sense (a harsh judgement, I know, and perhaps Dead wrong).

So, my follow up question would be, for the majority of you here that enjoy the 70s so much, did you, unlike me, find that Jerry's playing was better because of these new techniques and approaches?

Please, no 'era wars commentary' as I am accepting that it could very well be judged as an improvement and that my small mindedness caused my knee jerk reaction at the time(anything different is bad sort of thing since we wanted the old style since we grew up with it, etc.).

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Earl B. Powell Date: Dec 12, 2006 2:08pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

Willy - Unlike weir's approach to rhythm guitar where he moved away from tonal ranges that others occupied, Garcia remained where he was at his best. Lots of Jerrys lead stuff comes out of the first position, crosses over the area that Weir occupies and ends up way up the neck. He worked most of his rhythm stuff in the first position as well, giving counterpoint to Lesh, like the low tones on Cold Rain and Snow.

Another area where Garcia differs from Weir is the tones and control he got out of specific guitars. In 72 Garcia switched to a Fender Strat with single coil pickups, which he found offered the best "sonic" control. The Wolf which followed, the first Irwin, designed like a Strat. Then came the monster aluminum necked Travis Bean which also had the same basic wiring and pickup design. This was the '77 guitar that cut through the music like butter.

In 78 Jerry return to Wolf, claiming that the aluminum neck on the Travis Bean was too "cold." Wolf by then has the single coil pickups shoved up against one another like Humbuckers, to minimize the 60 cycle hum chronic to single coils.

Then rosebud, with three humbuckers (splitable) becomes the guitar of choice for the rest of his life.

Of interest is the tonal quality differences of each of these guitars and how they are indeed "era" oriented. Of interest is the "guitars" and gear area of the Dozin website, and checking out the gear Jerry used for specific shows.

This was true to a lesser degree with Weir, especially when he switched from the Gibson ES-335 to the Ibanez "Cowboy" guitar. Tone-wise the ES-335 had a much fatter sound than Ibanez, but was not as distinct. The difference in sound was appreciable, but Weir had also taken a much different approach to playing right about the same time.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: William Tell Date: Dec 12, 2006 5:28pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

Excellent info on the guitar playing and guitars of Jerry--thanks, Earl.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: elkdog Date: Dec 12, 2006 12:07pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

WT, my sense of Garcia's ability is that it grew right up through the 70's, even up to '85. As has been mentioned several times on this board, he was an absolute monster in August '82.
I really enjoy the 74-76 era tone from him- clear as a bell. Jerry's touch during those years was impeccable- very jazzy and smooth, and his guitar rig helped highlight that aspect of his playing. Earlier on, say 1970 or so, it seemed his guitar was always loud, with less dynamic space, and that the tone refined from there. I think the guitar tone on the "Don't Let Go" release from JGB (5/21/76)is my absolute favorite; just beautiful. Some of the MIDI stuff late in the Dead's career may have been partially motivated by Jerry's deteriorating chops, but I think most of the effects you discussed in the 70's and 80's were just to widen his tonal palette.

As for Bob, it's fair to say that his tone got thinner over time, but with a few exceptions, it generally worked well with the mix, helping his guitar's voice stand out, contributing to the Electric Dixieland that was the Dead.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: William Tell Date: Dec 12, 2006 12:28pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

Elkdog--I can appreciate that; there were defn those among us that saw some improvement with the changes, and the 'effects' issue was minor (ie, only on a few songs, etc). I was really a simpleton, focused on hearing what I had heard before, and distracted by changes at the time. Can appreciate it more now, but was curious about how others saw it (and thinking, again, that 70s lovers might have the opposite take--ie, he was simple in the early days, and grew in productive way in the 70s).

Thanks.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: high flow Date: Dec 12, 2006 12:41pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

I just keep thinking of how bored we would all be if the Dead played the same set, 5 times a week, 2 shows a night in Vegas. I don't care if it was a 1968 or a 1988 show. The sameness would be agonizing.

Jerry was a rolling rock. He gathered no moss. We wouldn't be here is they didn't TRY stuff. Experimentation with bad results is better than none.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: skuzzlebutt Date: Dec 12, 2006 11:03am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

I thought Weir was a tremendously undervalued asset. He was not a conventional rhythm player, but then the Grateful Dead weren’t a conventional rock and roll band. He’s also all but inaudible on a great many primal era boards, and even in the early-mid 70s frequently seems very low in the mix (I’ve read a couple of places that this led to more than argument). However, I think that sometimes whatever Garcia happened to be doing could be so commanding that it’s easy to miss the way Weir is adding flourishes of color to the proceedings.

I also think there were more than a few nights in the mid 80s where Garcia was just sort of aimlessly noodling, not really into it (for obvious reasons) and Weir kind of took a whip to the proceedings and got things moving again.

His slide playing to me was never any great shakes but it did improve over time. I could have done without the distortion and effects but I don’t think they reached overkill status until the early 90s. By '92 or so he seemed fixated on creating a noisy, dissonant tone, but then again I think that by this point the band really didn't listen to or try and compliment one another anyway.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: Dec 12, 2006 10:11am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

I disagree too. Yes I think his tone got washed out in the mix at times but that could be Healy's fault too. I remember seeing shows where it appeared he was playing some interesting stuff but you couldn't hear it. When he was present in the mix though I found the shows that much better. I like Weirs playing a LOT. Imo he gets the most disrespected of any of the band.

Oh and as far as his slide playing - he's no Duane Allman or Lowell George but I think he got to be plenty good at it.

This post was modified by johnnyonthespot on 2006-12-12 18:11:12

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: William Tell Date: Dec 12, 2006 10:36am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

You are right about Bob, JOTS--I have found that I have to have the right sort of mix for me to hear him well (I am just challenged in this way...no 'ear'), but when I do, I love him on many songs (ChCat, GDTRFB, OOne, etc.) and think that I never appreciated him (again, I couldn't really pick him out even at shows, over Jerry, Phil and the drummers).

He is a smart ass, but often in an endearing way, and from what I gather, not in line with my view on the download business (but I really don't know enought to say confidently), but defn underappreciated musically (I like the cowboy tunes too).

This post was modified by William Tell on 2006-12-12 18:36:06

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Max Chorak Date: Dec 12, 2006 10:18am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

I disagree.. there are a lot of shows in the 80's and 90's when he turns up his guitar, because Jerry's voice (and sadly to say, his playing too) starts to "diminish"

As for bobby's voice.... well that's another story in my opinion :P

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: a0x0m0x0a Date: Dec 12, 2006 11:02am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

In Lesh's book he talks about Healy mixing Weir too low. I'm a bass player, used to picking out particular players while listening, and I frequently had trouble picking out Weir's guitar due to its low level.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Earl B. Powell Date: Dec 12, 2006 11:55am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

According to Weir himself, he made changes simply to occupy tonal ranges that weren't already being played by someone else in the band. There is a clear difference between say 71 and 74, but there was also stylistic differences in the way that the band approached each song.

If you listen to Skullfuck and Europe 72, you would have to consider the Dead a "guitar" band. Both guitars very up front in the mix at equal volumes each occupying the left or right channel. At this point, tonally, Weir occupied a huge swath of the middle tonal range. By comparison, in '77 his playing has moved up the neck into higher (and less dense) frequencies. According to Weir, this was an effort to keep from competitng with the middle ground that the keyboards occupied.

Later on, both Weir and Garcia began using many more effects such as delay and chorus, which both have the effect of softening the output and attack of the guitar. While a more pleasant tone is achieved, it's also harder to cut through the sound of two drummers and electric keys like after Brent joined the band.

It's more than fair to say that both Weir and Garcia's playing evolved over the years. From a sound reinforcement perspective they weren't in complete control of the finished product either. It's also fair to say that the stadiums they played in 1985 required an entirely different mix than the halls of Europe 72. In addition, their constant dedication to improving the stage mix may have played a role in the volumes they played at during shows. The end result was the development of the ear piece monitors that most of the industry uses today.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: skuzzlebutt Date: Dec 12, 2006 1:19pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

I agree with the general point you're making about his moving up so as not to compete in the mid-range; however I would hasten to add that while Weir appears to be at an equal volume on Skullfuck and E'72, this is likely the result of the albums' production (and in the case of E'72 there's a fair chance it's a studio overdub anyway).

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Max Chorak Date: Dec 12, 2006 1:31pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

Skuzzle: I think it's probably the case though with all of the europe touring, and maybe '72 for that matter

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: skuzzlebutt Date: Dec 12, 2006 1:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

Quite possible; he's certainly more audible during recordings of that period than the late 60s stuff. I'm not disputing where he was playing as far as tone goes, I'm just making the (somewhat irrelevant) pointy that live albums aren't necessarily the best examples to use since they are multitracked and engineered after the fact a achieve "balance".

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Earl B. Powell Date: Dec 12, 2006 1:55pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

Any of the two track reels from Europe or before have Bob out front in the mix. Amazing as it may seem, Weir is playing more difficult parts than Jerry on the segue between China Cat and Rider. Since the separation is disint in the mix, it's fairly simple to discern who is doing what. Spend a couple weeks with the 72 Europe stuff and you'll have newfound respect for the young Ace.

Throughout the whole tour, Weirs playing was at it's most formidable, then in 73 the"jazz" notion struck the band and it seemed like everybody took a step back in favor of "ensemble" playing.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Max Chorak Date: Dec 12, 2006 2:13pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

Where are all the europe shows? There's a major chunk missing out of the archive

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: Dec 12, 2006 2:13pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

skuzzle - not just the production, the SBDs tell the same story

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: skuzzlebutt Date: Dec 12, 2006 2:26pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

That may well be. I'm going to pull 5/4 and a couple of others tonight for reference but I've got no reason to doubt it. I have definately developed the impression over the last 20 years or so that Weir was generally low in the mix during the early 70s. Don't know whether the European tour (or 1972 as a whole) was simply an anomally or whether I am just not hearing the music the same way as (apparently) a number of others.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: William Tell Date: Dec 13, 2006 8:50am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

Only chiming in because for me, with no ear, I now think Earl has a point--in my beloved 71 shows I can hear Bob better and listening to those is where I came to appreciate him. But I am treading on thin ice as I really do have a tough time hearing him unless he is mixed well, I stay focused, etc.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Max Chorak Date: Dec 12, 2006 12:58pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

Nice post.. totally agree

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: William Tell Date: Dec 12, 2006 1:03pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

Thanks, Earl; really appreciate all this info as I really am an ignoramous when it comes to this stuff, in spite of having read quite abit (reading is one thing, hearing is another).

Explains a lot of what I was getting at...

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: lobster12 Date: Dec 12, 2006 10:18am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

For me it was around 93 when he started playing around with those new guitars and sounds that bothered me. He was a very smooth player , then all of a sudden his guitar really jumps out and it sounds like noise rather than music. I couldn't distinguish the notes sometimes. I also think that in 94 and 95 Bob must have been turned up to compensate for Jerry "off nights".

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: johnnyonthespot Date: Dec 12, 2006 10:34am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Bob Weir's Tone & Playing

Didn't see them after only one show I saw in 92, not for any other reason than they didn't come back to Denver until after I moved. Sounds like I should be glad I went out on an ok note. Haven't heard a whole lot of 93-95, have heard few good ones and a few not so good ones but don't remember being annoyed at Bob's playing. Mostly annoyed at the boring song selections.

Terms of Use (10 Mar 2001)